Trump directs government to revamp nation's care for kidney disease


President Trump is delivering a speech and signing an executive order to advance kidney health in America, a somewhat offbeat topic for him to address.

The topic has a personal connection for the president.

In what may prove a shock to doctors, Donald Trump has claimed kidneys have "a very special place in the heart".

President Trump's executive order aims to reform the nation's organ transplant and kidney dialysis systems and includes proposals to improve the performance of organ procurement organizations, incentivize living kidney and liver donation, ensure patients with kidney disease receive the best dialysis care available at an affordable cost, and increase the number of available organs for transplantation.

Medicare's current payment structure pushes patients into in-clinic dialysis as a default option, often providing a significant burden to the lives of end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients.

"Decades of paying for sickness and procedures in kidney care, rather than paying for health and outcomes, has produced less-than-satisfactory outcomes at tremendous cost", said HHS Secretary Alex Azar, telling the crowd at the signing ceremony that his father suffered from kidney failure. Epstein's latest arrest over sex trafficking charges have renewed criticism of Acosta, and shed light on Mr. Trump's past interactions with Epstein. Educating patients about kidney disease is critical to prevention and slowing its progression.

The measure also will "double the number of transplants available so that people can get the ultimate goal of any kidney patient, which is a new kidney", said Azar.

Medicare payment changes that would provide a financial incentive for doctors and clinics to help kidney patients stave off end-stage disease. As of March 31, 2019, DaVita served 203,000 patients at 2,664 outpatient dialysis centers in the United States. Almost 97,000 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list today, but in 2018 fewer than 22,000 kidney transplants were performed because there were not enough organs for all.

Three times a week, hundreds of thousands of Americans with end-stage kidney disease trudge to dialysis centers to get the treatment that keeps them alive. "These patients, their loved ones and for all those impacted by kidney disease, I am here to say we are fighting by your side and we are determined to get you the best treatment anywhere in the world".

Statement Attributable to Javier Rodriguez, CEO for DaVita Inc.: "DaVita is encouraged that this Administration has taken steps toward holistic, value-based care for kidney patients".

Today's system favors expensive, time-consuming dialysis in large centers-what Trump called so onerous "it's like a full-time job"-over easier-to-tolerate at-home care or transplants that help patients live longer".

"I am not a Trump supporter at all, but this is one of the few things where I completely agree with him", said Holly Mattix, a nephrologist at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago and president of the National Kidney Foundation, in an interview on Tuesday before she flew to to Washington for Trump's announcement. Just 12% of patients start treatment at home.

The first goal of the executive order is to improve detection, diagnosis and treatment, in part through a public awareness campaign to prevent patients from going into kidney failure.

KCP looks forward to continuing working with the Administration and Congress to put patients first and thanks them for their leadership in advancing kidney care.

Other initiatives will require new regulations, expected to be proposed later this year.